Urban Stream Management Strategy for Fayetteville, AR

4-Year Physical and Biological Stream Assessment and Monitoring Program for the City of Fayetteville

The City of Fayetteville  has undergone rapid growth in the past decade, resulting in large scale changes in land use across the metropolitan area. In order to understand how stream ecological services were being impacted by this growth, the City of Fayetteville (City) contracted with the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Center for Agricultural and Rural Sustainability (CARS) to perform an assessment of the impact of land use change on stream ecological services in 2004.  The Center established benchmark values for streams in 2004 and monitored these streams for the following three years, through 2007. Urban stream characteristics assessed in this investigation included geomorphology, habitat quality, quality of floodplain/riparian zone and quality of the benthic macroinvertebrate community. These characteristics were measured at more than 30 locations for four years.  Observations were compared to the benchmark year (2004) to quantify changes in stream ecosystem services. Measures of change included increases and/or decreases in erosion,  riparian vegetation, benthic macroinvertebrate community diversity, and algal production. 

Results of this study show that streams in Fayetteville have been impacted to varying degrees by urban development.  All sites analyzed would score relatively low if compared to an unimpacted reference site. High relative condition sites were typically small to medium sized watersheds with relatively low urban land use and low riparian disturbance.  Low relative  condition sites were typically watersheds with relatively high urban land use and high riparian disturbance.

The City of Fayetteville helped fund this project.

Marty Matlock, 479-575-2849, mmatlock@uark.edu